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o To have adequate access to water they must have adequate
15-20 L of water per person per day
o 1-3 L Drinking
o 2-3 L Food preparation
o 6-7 L personal hygiene
o 4-6 L Laundry.
Not inhibitory (1 kilometer)
Always be available.
Cannot inhibit a family's access
o In Ghana they dont have adequate water supply:
Nearly 6 million people (nearly 22% of the population) rely on surface
water for their daily water needs
67% of the population dont have access to proper sanitation;
leaving a majority of the population vulnerable to water-borne
diseases (Ghana Water Crisis).
o The biggest causes of this crisis are pollution and its byproduct climate change.
More countries are beginning to face huge droughts.
The crisis in Ghana is different however, because the problem isnt an
overall lack of water but rather a lack of safe drinkable water.
The lack of potable water is a byproduct of years of water pollution
and unsafe environmental practices.
o In Ghana specifically, the most common causes of water
pollution are Illegal mining and sewage and water waste.
Illegal mining:
Popularly known as galamsey
Involves methods of mining that use toxic
chemicals such as mercury and other heavy
metals that pollute water
Sewage and water waste
Poor sanitation
Open defecation
Both of these main causes of water pollutants are completely preventable
human sources of pollution
o Solution:
Increased government involvement in creating legislature regulating
and/or addressing these issues to stop preventable pollution
o Connection to Political View
In order to implement these regulations the Ghanaian government needs to
create legislature and enforce laws regarding pollution
o Most of these problems range from governmental deficiencies.
Ghana as a lower income country has several areas in which they need to
improve in order to grow, including increasing democratic government,
sustaining economic growth, and improving health standards
Institutional bottleneck:
o A bottleneck is a point of congestion in a production
system that occurs when workloads arrive too quickly for
the production process to handle. The inefficiencies
brought about by the bottleneck often create delays and
higher production costs.
Lack of coordination and planning with private companies
Solutions that they offer often times not long term or well
maintained. Private water companies have no real incentives to
expand services to disadvantaged urban communities, which tend
to have a high concentration of low income dwellers.
Lack of urban planning
These poor urban communities are mostly populated by squatters
and migrants workers, lack basic amenities, and usually have very
poorly developed infrastructure.
o Countries with similar issues
The government in Rwanda has been working closely with a private
company that brings in low cost and sustainable technologies that improve
water access and sanitation and it has been largely successful.
o Solution:
Increased governmental involvement in funding and increased
involvement with private companies.
o Connection to Economics
Governmental funding can only go so far and Ghana still needs funding
from the private sector
o 2015- Ghanas economy crashed to just 3.8% from 14% in 2011
Tens of thousands of jobs were lost
government was forced to seek support from the International Monetary
Fund again
Reason: low rainfall.
o 78% of global jobs need water
1.3 billion jobs worldwide are severely water-dependent.
1.2 billion jobs are moderately water-dependent. In total, The supply of
water cannot meet the increasing demand.
o Investments in safe drinking water and sanitation have been shown to foster
economic growth, with high rates of return.
Better sanitation delivers up to $5 in social and economic benefits for
every $1 invested through increased productivity, reduced healthcare
costs, and prevention of illness, disability, and early death.
o Solution
However, an investment in this crisis is not a short-term investment but
rather a long-term investment.
There are already many partnerships and investors one of which
being the World Bank country program in Ghana
Maintain the relationships between the investors
The cost-benefit ratios of infrastructure investment are around 1:8,
reaching as high as 1:40 in some cases.
o Connection to Public Health
All this funding support projects that take care of the people and establish
This infrastructure is great to keep people from being harmed by
the lack of clean water, but what about those who are already sick?
Public Health
o Water-borne illnesses in Ghana: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and
typhoid fever, schistosomiasis
Most significant being those that cause diarrheal disease
When people die of diarrheal disease it is not the disease itself that
kills them, it is the chronic dehydration effect on their organs
o According to the WHO in 2012 the 7th leading cause of death in Ghana is
diarrheal disease
4% of all deaths
Kills more than Cancer
Mainly children
NIH- Most common pathogens to cause diarrhea in Ghana include
o Transmitted via consumption of contaminated water
o Common in children because it is transmitted in the fecal
Shigella spp./EIEC
o Transmitted via Fecal-Oral route
Typically through contaminated food
o Poor hygiene is a contributor
Lack of clean water to use for sanitary measures
such as washing food before consumption
o Transmitted via Fecal-Oral route
Commonly food or water
Which are all caused by fecal contamination of food or water
Poor hygiene
o 19% Ghana practice open defecation (UNICEF)
o Not enough water to dedicate to hygiene
o Solution:
Oral Rehydration Fluid
Fist of salt, pinch of sugar, per L clean water
Improve hygiene
Wash hands
Defecation away from water sources
Antibiotics for those who have access to medical care
Only works for bacteria
Does not prevent all causes of diarrheal disease; only specific
o Connection to Social Implications
A lot of time is spent collecting water, and when one is sick that burden
falls to others
This is time that may otherwise be spent places like school
o Time spent collecting water limits time spent in school
Especially for girls: / Unicef 2016: 1 in every 6 households does not have
a basic water supply within a 30-minute round trip. Does not meet UN
Sustainable development goals
o Education
Educating parents re: oral rehydration salts: increase percentage of usage
from about 50% (UNICEF)
Increased emphasis on need for boiling water even when its inconvenient:
occasionally this practice is ignored
o Family finances
More time spent gathering water translates to less time for craft and
Families are financially stable so that child labor is not required option,
and children may attend school instead.
HRW 2015: Most child laborers in Ghana go to school and work in
mining at the same time-->irregularity, skipping classes or entire
school days, drop out
o Connections to Engineering
In order for progress to be made the technology will need to be in to place
first. Ghanaians need convenient access to clean water in plentiful
amounts before the dynamic of the situation can start to change
o Over-reliance on surface water and why this is detrimental to health.
Close to 6 million people (almost 22 percent) rely on surface water to
meet daily needs.
Surface water is not as clean of a water source as groundwater
Surface water has different concerns than groundwater as
groundwater is pulled out of the ground, which acts as a natural
filter, but surface water is exposed to all elements and picks up
something from anything it touches.
As surface water is exposed to all elements of nature, and water
tends to dissolve or take away a part of everything it touches.
When people defecate in the open, this fecal matter is being carried
by water when it rains to these rivers, streams or lakes. This fecal
matter mixes with the water and pollutes it.
o Rainwater Collection
Cheaper than ulterior water supply systems,
Allows individuals to farm or build in areas with no other water supply,
increased independence and water security,
reduced flood flows (reduces topsoil erosion)
Improved plant growth
Prevents breeding of mosquitoes and sources of water-borne diseases.
o State why Rainwater collection is a viable option towards providing an alternative
potable water source.
Annual rainfall ranges from about 1,100 mm (about 43 in) in the north to
about 2,100 mm (about 83 in) in the southeast.
Seattle rainfall averages 40 inches per year
Ghana has a tropical climate with a rainy season in the summer
None of theses solutions are enough on their own
o Lessen Pollution to reduce contamination of water
Sanitation infrastructure
No illegal mining
Increase Urban Planning (More sanitation systems)
o Collect clean Rainwater
Community wide structures and individual collection
Funding from world bank or other partners
o Teach healthcare
Importance of sanitation
Shift cultural norms away from open defecation
Importance of boiling water
Importance of Oral Rehydration Fluid
Seeking care when the illness has progressed too far
o Together, these solutions can address the full scope of the Ghana Water Crisis.
No issue lies entirely within a single discipline

Clearly none of these individual solutions are sufficient on their own. We need to reduce
pollution in order to reduce contamination of water. This would be accomplished through the
continued establishment and maintenance of sanitation infrastructure, which would require the
economic and political cooperation of the Ghanaian government, and a reduction of illegal
mining, which would require the collaboration of environmental experts and the government.
Additionally, we suggest that Ghana should implement the collection of clean rainwater, as this
would reduce the spread of disease. To do this Ghana would need increased funding from either
the world bank or other sources to establish both community wide structures and individual
collection. To address the issue of health of those affected by the lack of clean water we should
increase education about the importance of sanitation and support the shift away from open
defecation. We should also increase awareness of benefits of boiling water before it is consumed
and the use of oral rehydration fluid. As Ghanaians embrace these interventions and positive
practices that already exist, we hope to see a reduction in the number of diarrheal deaths, the
public health burden, and the loss of productivity and opportunity that result from a lack of water
access. Together, these solutions can address the full scope of the Ghana Water Crisis. Moving
forward it is vital that we consider all issues in the manner, as no solution lies within a single
discipline. Thank you.